ANIT-induced disruption of biliary function in rat hepatocyte couplets

Dominic J. Orsler, Jalal Ahmed-Choudhury, J. Kevin Chipman, Tim Hammond, Roger Coleman

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39 Scopus citations


α-Naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT) induces intrahepatic cholestasis in rats, involving damage to biliary epithelial cells; our study aims to investigate whether disruption of biliary function in hepatocytes can contribute to early stages of ANIT-induced intrahepatic cholestasis. Isolated rat hepatocyte couplets were used to investigate biliary function in vitro by canalicular vacuolar accumulation (cVA) of a fluorescent bile acid analogue, choly-lysyl-fluorescein (CLF), within the canalicular vacuole between the two cells. After a 2-h exposure to ANIT, there was a concentration-dependent inhibition of cVA (cVA-IC50; 25 μM), but no cytotoxicity (LDH leakage or [ATP] decline) within this ANIT concentration range. There was no loss of cellular [GSH] at low ANIT concentrations, but, at 50 μM ANIT, a small but significant loss of [GSH] had occurred. Diethylmaleate (DEM) partially depleted cellular [GSH], but addition of 10 μM ANIT had no further effect on GSH depletion. Reduction in cVA was seen in DEM-treated cells; addition of ANIT to these cells reduced cVA further, but the magnitude of this further reduction was no greater than that caused by ANIT alone, indicating that glutathione depletion does not enhance the effect of ANIT. F-actin distribution (by phalloidin-FITC staining) showed an increased frequency of morphological change in the canalicular vacuoles but only a small, nonsignificant (0.05 < p < 0.1) increase in proportion of the F-actin in the region of the pericanalicular web. The results are in accord with a disruption of hepatocyte canalicular secretion within two h in vitro, at low, non-cytotoxic concentrations of ANIT, and the possible involvement of a thiocabamoyl-GSH conjugate of ANIT (GS-ANIT) in this effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bile canaliculus
  • Cholestasis
  • Glutathione
  • Hepatocyte couplet
  • α-naphthylisothiocyanate


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